This message was part of the ‘How to Pray’ series, preached at Christ Church Manchester’s church in Fallowfield in early 2018. The full series included the following sermons:
This sermon was based on James 1:1-11.
1James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings.
Testing of Your Faith
2Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
5If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
9Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, 10and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. 11For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.
There Is a Faith Once For All Delivered
- Christianity does not change from one generation to the next.
- The canon of Scripture is closed.
- Historically, the church has summarised this faith once for all delivered in the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer and the Ten Commandments.
- In the reformation, the fives ‘solas’ were also emphasised as central to the faith.
The Faith Needs Contending For
- Jude is writing into a context of false teaching where people are trying to pervert God’s grace for sensuality. This is just as much of a challenge in our day as it was in Jude’s.
- The false teachers were within the church.
- Verses 5-16 are quite complex, but they elaborate this point. They contain:
- Three corporate rebellions
- Three individual rebellions
- Four specific charges
- Two strange quotations
- Six graphic metaphors
- ONE big idea – Judgment on these false teachers.
- In light of this, we must contend for the faith.
- This isn’t about picking arguments – and the way in which we contend will vary depending on how central the issue is (it has been said that some issues we write in ‘pencil’, some we write in ‘pen’ and some we write in ‘blood’).
We Should All Be Ready to Contend
- It starts in you own life. Keep yourself in the love of God by:
- Building yourself up in the most holy faith.
- Praying in the Holy Spirit
- Waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ the leads to eternal life
- Then we contend outwardly by:
- Having mercy on those who doubt.
- Saving others by snatching them out of the fire.
- Showing mercy with fear.